"Music to me is a state of being, a state of entrancement whereby collections of sounds become much more than a sum of their parts."
I’m a composer and musician fascinated by the possibility of music existing in other species.
If it does, it’s not too much of a stretch to think that its qualities would differ from human music. Perhaps influenced by the creature’s hearing range, aesthetic preference, or environmental factors, one could logically expect its “music” to take on all different kinds of expressive outcomes.
While many species may ultimately end up claiming musicality, for me it is the Humpback Whale that holds the most promise for discovery.
I was first introduced to Humpback Whales in 1996 when I joined a research team in southeast Alaska studying the acoustics of this animal. It was thought that with my classical music background I might be able to identify subtle patterns in the acoustic activity of the whales that were not readably evident to the scientist.
During the course of my apprenticeship I became curious as to whether or not the Humpback’s Winter Song, with its highly organized, constantly evolving structure, should be classified as a type of music.
Over the past 13 years I have dedicated myself to obtaining a scientific understanding of these animals as well as researching my own species’ musical organizations in order to provide insight as to how the music in other species might be investigated.